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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 6, Cardinals 0: We got guys working overtime right now to come up with new adjectives for Clayton Kershaw, because we’ve burnt the hell through our entire 2014 supply already. The best pitcher in baseball struck out 13 Cardinals in seven shutout innings today, reducing his ERA to 2.04 and pushing his K/BB ratio to 107/11 in 79.1 innings. He’s currently rolling with a 28-inning scoreless streak. Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer, but man, it’s not like Kershaw even needed the help.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: Kershaw isn’t the only ace challenging our ability to describe his greatness this year. Felix Hernandez has always been amazing, but he’s on a whole new level in 2014. For one thing, having ten wins at the halfway point of a season is something different for him. The earliest he’s ever notched his 10th win was in 2009 when he did it on July 17. That year he won 19. This year he’s 10-2 with a 2.10 ERA with a K/BB ratio of 137/22 in 128.1 innings. That after the eight innings of one-hit ball he threw while striking out nine Indians today.

Reds 4, Giants 0: Homer Bailey isn’t quite the pitcher Kershaw and Hernandez are, but he’s pretty damn good. Yesterday he took a no-hitter into the seventh and finished with a three-hit shutout of the reeling San Francisco Giants. The reeling San Francisco Giants who now find themselves in a mathematical tie with the Dodgers in the NL West, one game better in the loss column, but spinning out of control all the same. They’ve dropped six of seven.

Rockies 10, Brewers 4: Last Sunday the Rockies were a laughing stock after a weekend in which they threw the ball all over the place and literally fell down on the basepaths. On this Sunday they were the beneficiaries of the other team playing less-than-Little-League-quality defense to let the Rockies stroll around the bases unmolested. Not that they were perfect: Jorge De La Rosa threw three wild pitches and hit a batter. He still got the win, though. It was the Rockies first win against the Brewers all season. It was also their last game against the Brewers all season.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: Kendrys Morales hit an RBI double to break a 2-2- tie in the ninth. They shifted right against the lefty Morales, and the lefty Morales slapped it down the left field line. Between having to run a long way to get back to that shift-beating ball, it took a weird bounce off the wall too, allowing the go-ahead and ultimately winning run score.

Pirates 5, Mets 2: Former Met Ike Davis hit a two-run single in the first off Bartolo Colon and the Pirates took a 5-0 lead after four. Pedro Alvarez had a home and an RBI double. Colon had one idea about why the Pirates were able to get to him:

“I just think that because I’ve already gone against them once they probably prepared so they knew what I was coming with. They just had the time to prepare to play against me.”

Bartolo, you’ve been pitching in the bigs since the Clinton Administration. Everyone has had a chance to see you.

Astros 6, Tigers 4: Jose Altuve is on fire. Three hits and two stolen bases today and he went 9 for 14 in the series against Detroit. He’s stolen two bases in four straight games and 10 overall in his last six. He’s batting .347 on the year.

Braves 3, Phillies 2: A four game sweep. And, for some reason, none of the Philly people who tweeted smack at me when the Phillies took three in a row from the Braves a couple of weeks ago tweeted at me during this series. Huh. This was the first four-game sweep in Philadelphia by the Braves since Sept. 24-27, 1964. That was at the tail end of that historic collapse by Philly that season. Which, hey, that may be bad, but at least they had some success from which to collapse then.

Royals 5, Angels 4: Lorenzo Cain had four hits, including three doubles, and drove in two. Omar Infante drove in the winning run in the ninth, but this game shoulda gone extras. Before Infante’s big hit Erik Aybar and Howie Kendrick muffed what should’ve been an inning-ending double play, allowing the guy who scored the winning run to move into scoring position. “You can’t assume the double—OW!”  Sorry, had to smack that cliche-spewing voice in my head across the back of the neck.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Athletics 4, Marlins 3: Nate Freiman was called up from Sacramento, flew across country, barely slept and then hit a three-run homer in his 2014 debut. Not bad. Also not bad: The A’s winning all three games in Miami by coming from behind.  Four wins in a row overall. Oakland is at its exact halfway point of the 2014 season and has 51 wins.

Rays 12, Orioles 7: Two homers for Matt Joyce, who had five hits and four RBI in all. The Rays had five homers and six doubles in this one. That’s, like, a month’s output for that offense.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Jose Quintana had seven shutout innings. That creep can roll, man. Jose Abreu had an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.

Padres 2, Diamondbacks 1:  Odrisamer Despaigne with his second start and, once again, a stingy performance and a win. It’s junk and funk and angles and smoke and mirrors, but who cares? All of those things are really cool.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 5: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz each drove in three, Ortiz on the power of his 450th career home run. The Red Sox take two of three from their rivals, who themselves have lost six of eight.

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty
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Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

David Price said to care about more than just the money

David Price

Every year free agency brings with it its own set of politics and talking points and spin. Factors which are said to be more important to players than the money being offered.

And, to be fair, there is one big factor that is likely more important than money for many of them: winning. I truly believe players want to win. They say it all the time and there’s no reason to think they’re being disingenuous about that, especially the ones who have been around the game a long time.

I’ll note, however, that given how success cycles work in baseball (i.e. teams that aren’t close to being true contenders aren’t likely to be spending big in free agency anyway) that consideration often washes out of the system. Every year you hear of one or two losing teams making a big, competitive offer to a free agent, but it’s not that common.

What I’m talking about more here are the truly soft factors. Factors which often anchor hot stove rumors, but which rarely if ever truly stand out as determining factors when it comes to where a free agent ends up. Examples of these include geographic proximity to where the player grew up, his wife grew up, he went to college or what have you. Remember how CC Sabathia was going to play in California? And Mark Teixeira was going to play for Baltimore? Heck, I’m so old I remember when Brandon Webb was gonna break the bank playing for the Reds.

It’s pretty rare, though, for that to pan out. Sabathia and Teixeira went to New York. If Brandon Webb’s shoulder had cooperated it’s not likely he would’ve ended up in Cincinnati. Money talks for free agents, much louder than any of the soft considerations. Even when, like Mike Hampton and his Denver-public-school-loving self claimed that he signed with the Rockies for reasons other than the fact that they unloaded the money truck for him.

I think we’re seeing a new soft factor emerge. Today Peter Gammons reported this about David Price:

Cities are fairly strong as soft factors go, I reckon. Somewhere south of money and winning but north of “my wife’s family lives there.” Money can make up the difference between a fun city and a lame city, but if things are equal, going someplace you want to be likely is a factor.

But that second one — being able to hit — seems a bit suspect. This is not the first time I’ve heard that this offseason. Zack Greinke was said to prefer the NL because he likes to hit. I’ve heard this about other pitchers too. I question how important a factor that truly is — the actual hitting part actually affecting a free agent decision — as much as I suspect it’s a negotiating tool designed to get AL teams to pay a premium to get the guy to “give up” hitting. Or, more likely, that it’s code for “it’s WAY easier to pitch in the NL because I get to face a pitcher who can’t hit for crap 2-3 times a game.”

On some level I suppose this is all unknowable. I doubt David Price or some other free agent pitcher is ever going to hold a January press conference in which he says the following:

“Well, the money was absolutely equal between the final two suitors and, as you know, both made the playoffs last year and play in cities with copious cultural resources for my family and me. And, having plotted the two cities on Google Maps, I discovered that the two cities are each EXACTLY 347 miles from my Aunt Tilly’s house! What are the friggin’ odds?

Ultimately, though, I signed here so I could bat.”

Like I said, not likely. But wouldn’t it be something if that happened? If so, I’d probably cast a 12-inch statue of Mike Hampton and start giving out an annual award or something.

Player pool for MLB postseason shares is a record $69 million

television money

MLB just announced the postseason shares for this year and the players’ overall pool is a record total of $69.9 million. Nice.

That total gets divided among playoff participants, with Royals receiving $25,157,573.73 for winning the World Series and Mets getting $16,771,715.82 for finishing runner-up. That works out to $370,069.03 each for the Royals and $300,757.78 each for the Mets.

Jeffrey Flanagan of reports that the Royals have issued full playoff shares to a total of 58 people, plus 8.37 partial shares and 50 “cash rewards.” In other words: There was a whole bunch of money to go around if you were in any way involved in the Royals’ championship run.

According to MLB public relations the previous high for the overall player pool was $65.4 million in 2012 and the Mets’ playoff share is the highest ever for a World Series-losing team, topping the Tigers’ share of $291,667.68 in 2006. Kansas City’s playoff share is slightly less than San Francisco received last year.

Here are the individual postseason share amounts by team:

Royals – $370,069.03
Mets – $300,757.78
Blue Jays – $141,834.40
Cubs – $122,327.59
Astros – $36,783.25
Cardinals – $34,223.65
Dodgers – $34,168.74
Rangers – $34,074.40
Pirates – $15,884.20
Yankees – $13,979.99

Marc Anthony gets into the agent business, signs Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).

Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:

The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.

Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.

Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.